Hoyer: House Republicans Retreat on Ethics Changes Yet Again

Whip Calls Agreement a Move in the Right Direction

For Immediate Release:

July 1, 2005

Contact:Stacey Farnen Bernards
(202) 225 - 3130

WASHINGTON, DC – House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer (MD) released the following statement today after the Republican leadership backpedaled on trying to unilaterally change the House Ethics rules, and instead agreed to follow House rules and hire a non-partisan professional staff for Ethics Committee:

“I am pleased that it has finally dawned on the Republican leadership that ‘majority rule’ does not mean that this Republican Majority can completely ignore the plain meaning of the House Ethics rules.

“This retreat is reminiscent of the Republican surrender on ethics earlier this year.  After removing Republican members who supported the admonishment of Majority Leader Tom DeLay, and firing non-partisan professional staff, the Republican leadership tried to unilaterally change bipartisan ethics rules over the objection of the former Republican Chairman of the Ethics Committee and Democrats.  Public outrage forced them to back down.

“So, Republicans tried to deadlock the Committee another way, through the hiring of partisan staff.  Literally ignoring the plain meaning of House Rule 11, which requires the Ethics Committee to hire a non-partisan, professional staff, Republican Leaders insisted for months on hiring a partisan staffer with power over investigations. 

“Last night, Republicans finally backed off that shameful position and recognized that the public would not reward their intransigence and blatantly political effort to block the House Ethics Committee from forming as determined by House Rules.

“It’s imperative that this House have a strong ethics process that ensures the integrity of this institution.  And, it is imperative that the Committee now move forward on pending issues without delay.”

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